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Clinton Holdouts, Messing Up All the Unity

Democrats have a problem. Here they are at the start of their convention, and efforts are still underway to soothe the festering anger and resentment of supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. First, those supporters were upset that she didn't snag the nomination. Now, they're ticked that she wasn't even vetted to be Barack Obama's vice presidential pick. If Democrats have a hope of bouncing out of Denver in one unified piece (albeit, held together by Band-Aids, masking tape and twine), they must listen to the junior senator from New York.

Clinton could not have been more clear at the New York delegation breakfast this morning at the Sheraton. Sounding themes we will no doubt hear when she addresses the party faithful tomorrow night, she said, "We are here for a very clear purpose, to come out of here united and to elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States." And after the breakfast, at a press availability for the New York press corps, Clinton delivered her strongest denunciation yet of McCain. "Electing John McCain would be a mistake for our country," she said. Watch her deliver the blow.

Yet, Clinton's supporters are neither convinced nor mollified. And everyone knows it. When asked by a reporter why she thought her message of "unity" was having trouble getting through, Clinton said, "I'm doing everything I can possibly do" to get the Clintonites to vote for Obama. "What gets me up every day is making sure that there is a Democrat in the White House." Noting that she had worked on ten presidential elections in her adult life, only three of them successful, the first woman to wage a serious fight for the nomination, who garnered 18 million votes but came up short, issued a warning, "We can't wait another four, eight" years. "We have to get it right this time." Unfortunately for Obama right now, some seem hellbent on waiting.

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 25, 2008; 6:41 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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I'm here at home and believe me, it isn't Clinton's supporters who are being ignored. No, it's the ordinary Democrats who can't afford to take off work for several days and spend hard-earned money on a trip to Denver who journalists just can't be bothered with. The people who are there for the purpose of publicly sulking have the wherewithal to make their voices heard in this very public forum, whereas most of us do not. So, I do not feel sorry for them. No one is asking me how I feel.

So, if as I have heard, all you reporters are chasing the same story, why don't some of you leave Denver and head on out to the rest of the country and ask some of the rest of us how we feel about our party's choice. Oh---these blogs? Yes, love them.
Thanks a lot. And please get the word out---Obama supporters have feelings, too.
We don't have the signage, but we vote with our feet.

Posted by: Mad as Hell | August 25, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary had won the nomination and chose Biden as VP there would be rioting in the streets. It was Hillary who wanted the dream ticket. Obama always snubbed her. He even had the audacity to send out his gimmicky veep text message at 3 am. The GOP is capitalizing on what they see as Obama's weakness: his divisiveness and pettiness. And the GOP is succeeding. Obama should be ahead in the polls, but is slipping big time. He should have gotten a bump in the polls from the Biden announcement, but instead got a dip. He thinks he can carry the election on his own. If he loses because of party division, it is his fault.

Posted by: howdy999 | August 25, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Ordinary blue-collar voters do not have time
to get out and riot in the streets. Journalists from NY and Washington may not realize this, but most of us are too busy trying to make a living to act out in this way. The reporting is skewed because of this factor.

The GOP is not winning. They will not win.
Anyone who votes for McCain, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.
If you want 8 more years of the same, you must be blind.

Posted by: Still Mad | August 25, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

As a GOP voter all my life I marvel at the dogmatic incompetence that is the current Democratic party.

No matter how badly we have fallen and how many golden opportunities they have to pick the right candidate and set themselves up for another generation as the majority party, the Dems still insist on hurdling toward division and implosion.

Obama has accomplished nothing in is short political career to justify being elected President and yet the Dems allow a foisted PC white racist mentality to guilt them into pushing him forward as a "change" agent. What change- Biden has been in Congress since 1973!

How is this change or post-partisan ?

Posted by: King2641 | August 25, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

We're talking about people that, from the scenes outside of the convention hall, don't really care if a Dem is in the White House - they only want Hillary Clinton. The Hillary folks will not be going away soon.

Posted by: matt | August 25, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you Post reporters thought to find out just how many of these PUMA's are authentically Democrats... and not planted repubs calling themselves independents?

Posted by: badgervan | August 25, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

wow, you guys cannot find an original story if your life depended on it. if the dems are "in trouble" you might take the time to notice that their opponents are "non-existent" and due to suffer a landslide. there's so much time to kill, eh?

Posted by: preAmerikkkan | August 25, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

It's so easy to hold out because Obama's such a grudge-minded, disrespectful and ingracious jerk to the Clintons.

Makes it easier to totally blow him off and vote for McCain.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 25, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Joe Biden has been running for first place for 20 years and now he takes the second place gladly.

What does he bring? Obama said Biden would make a good president. So he can't honestly say anything about McCain's age now since Biden and McCain are close to the same age. Also, Biden is more of a Washington insider than McCain. He has been in the Senate longer and in politics even before that. So much for "change" and no Washington insiders. While Biden can't do anything and has no power except to break a tie vote, Obama picked him because he is a Washington insider.

The lobbyists are also running the convention which shows you just what Obama's administration would be like, even though he said lobbyists wouldn't be in "his" Washington.

Posted by: Katherine | August 25, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama is to blame with his sexist remarks and support of sexist remarks.

To even consider having him nominated by acclimation is disrepecting and disenfranchising to the Democrats who voted for Hillary. What/who is Obama afraid of?

Posted by: Katherine | August 25, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

My first reaction to the Biden pick was that Obama must have a pathological grudge against Clinton to go to such lengths to avoid her when he needs her base and the things she could do for him if only she were on his ticket. While it's hard to read between the lines of the well-coordinated propaganda supporting Obama's pick, I think many are dismayed not by the Biden pick, but by the way the Obama campaign seems to dress him up for her voters.

Picking Biden in itself makes sense if Obama weren't going to follow through with his risky "transformative change" ticket, and if he weren't going to pick Clinton. But putting Clinton's lipstick, earrings and pearls on him and lauding him up with words interchangeable with Clinton's resurgent campaign seems ghoulishly like that guy in Psycho with his dead mother in the upstairs bedroom

Delivering the news by 3 a.m. cell phone message, not even vetting Clinton, not urging supporters to donate to her campaign debt retirement, and all of the above, just points to a guy who is immature and grudge-minded.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 25, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

The arrogant Obama is not qualified and the nation knows it. Senator Clinton is doing all she can do to get her supporters behind him but they aren't buying. He will lose and Senator Clinton will be blamed for the loss.

We are the losers. We lost the best candidate thanks to the DNC rules favoring Obama.

Posted by: Karolyn | August 25, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Katherine,

What specific examples of Obama's campaign's so-called "sexism" can you show me? I've yet to hear anyone who can give me one. I haven't seen any from him or his organization.

I have a lot of respect for the values of the feminist movement, including the respect for diverse, marginalized, and multiple voices in the governing process. Like Clinton, Obama also represents those values. To insist that only Clinton (or God forbid, McCain?!) is qualified to speak on behalf of us all seems narrow-minded. It is also a betrayal of feminist ideals.

Posted by: Troy | August 25, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

First - I believe this is primarily a media driven drama...rather than any real split.

Second... I keep hearing that Hillary supporters are angry.... you suppose they are any more angry than those of us reading Penn's decision to portray Obama s unAmerican, foreign born? Dirty tricks like you'ed expect from Karl Rove just don't cut it. Clinton supporters have nothing to be angry about.

My personal opinion is they have been given many many concessions, if that's not enough, so be it... send them home now, before the convention is finished... let them campaign for John McCain.

Posted by: dutchess2 | August 26, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Firstly, there are no PUMAs or Hillary Holdouts. That's just a fiction arising from a media looking for drama and sensationalism.

Secondly, all the PUMAs and Hillary Holdouts are really Republican operatives trying to stir up discord and cast doubt on The Movement.

Thirdly, the PUMAs' and HIllary Holdouts' issues and upset are just affectations and selfishness; they are holding up the bus and should just get on board with their money and votes and stop trying to pee on the party.

Fourthly, the PUMAs and Hillary Holdouts have no right or need to demand traditional runner up treatment or respect for their candidate; the blue collar pragmatism is sucking all the glam and hype from the mass pop culture production that is the lifeblood of the campaign.

They and their inappropriate focus on issues, experience, capability, answers, and all their other dreary, negative and ugly narrow focus on details should get out of the way of the high-gloss, attractive and high powered personality cult.

We never wanted them here in the first place and it if weren't for the votes we won't want them in the future. If we can build up enough of a voter base using registration drives, we won't need them anymore.

In the meantime, they should shut up and get on board.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 26, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

If we can build up enough of a voter base using registration drives, we won't need them anymore.

In the meantime, they should shut up and get on board.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 26, 2008 7:49 AM

Yes, Aspergirl, you are similar to all the others who believe that Obama needs to be the candidate, no matter what, ignoring reality.

The more the general electorate sees of Obama and McCain, the more likely they will see the reality of what Obama might do, or NOT be able to do, as president.

The results are already in. The 1/3 third of the country have not made up their minds. The dems are going to register all these or convince all democrats to vote for Obama? Unlikely.

Posted by: hillaryhead | August 26, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The notion that ardent Democrats who supported Clinton's candidacy will eschew Obama's smacks of the same old tired sexism against women. It perpetuates the notion that us wimmenfolks will be all emotional and not vote with our heads because the other person is the nominee, even though a vote for McCain is a vote against all of the issues that are important to women.

I hear a lot of hype about "bitter" Hillary supporters, another word, not unlike "articulate" in its subtext. But although I know a lot of people who supported Clinton, I don't know anyone who is throwing their vote away because she is not the nominee.

Frankly it was the press and not the Obama campaign that was sexist and derogatory. There's a legitimate reason for bitterness over that, but I don't think we're going to martyr our future to our bitterness over a malignant MSM.

Posted by: Gretchen | August 26, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Clinton does not endorse Obama. She is simply endorsing the "generic Democratic candidate". She says it everytime ... "it's time to get a Democrat in the White House". That is not an endorsement of Barack Obama.

Posted by: JourneyMan | August 26, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You people need to quit referring to us as those "Hillary supporters".....perhaps Hillary GOT 18+ MILLION VOTES because 18+ MILLION people BELIEVED she had more experience than Barack Obama, who has absolutely NONE, unless you count his 143 days. It is a SAD day when LIFE-LONG Democrats think someone like McCain is better than the Democratic nominee......GAWD! I have NEVER seen THIS before.
Obama is in the same league as GWB.....and we don't want another number of years with someone with NO EXPERIENCE in the White House.
Get OVER blaming EVERYTHING on's about the DNC/Media ANNOINTED, MESSIANIC candidate!
Write In Hillary 2008

Posted by: librairie | August 26, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

It is sad, and more than a little ironic that the Hillary supporters cannot accept the fact that her inexperience at management and her inability to control Bill or her own campaign operation were major negatives in her column.

When she did not sweep Super Tuesday, it was obvious that there was no back-up plan, no recovery thinking. That is not the kind of person I want leading us in a perilous world full of surprises, and I'm not alone.

As a 66 year old woman and a lifelong Democrat, am I supposed to slavishly support the Senator from New York because she is a she? She, who was so taken in by Bush/Cheney that she stood on the Senate floor and spouted their party line for the War Powers, enabling Bush to launch his own vanity invasion so he could be a war president? Maybe not!!

Posted by: ejwillia | August 27, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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